Tuesday, July 16, 2013
In 1950, Rydell competed on the amateur talent television series, Paul Whiteman's TV Teen Club; his first-place win gained him a regular role with the series. He worked with the Whiteman series for three years, changing his name to Bobby Rydell. He later joined several local bands in Philadelphia.[As a teenage drummer, he played alongside Frankie Avalon in a musical ensemble known as Rocco and the Saints. He later had a recording contract with Cameo Records company, and his debut success was "Kissin' Time", recorded during the summer of 1959. Rydell was considered a "teen idol" along with Frankie Avalon, Pat Boone (on whose program Rydell performed, The Pat Boone Chevy Showroom), Fabian, Johnny Tillotson, Jimmy Clanton and Bobby Vee. In May 1960, Rydell toured Australia with The Everly Brothers, Billy "Crash" Craddock, Marv Johnson, The Champs and The Crickets, recording an Australian version of "Kissin' Time" for the event.
His second success "We Got Love" was his first million-album seller, gaining gold disc status. 1960's "Wild One," backed with "Little Bitty Girl", was his second million-selling single; his successes continued with "Swingin' School" backed with "Ding-a-Ling," and the million-album selling "Volare" later that year. After making his first successful recordings, he continued a solo career, performing at the Copacabana in New York in 1961, where he was the youngest performer to headline at the nightclub. In February 1961 he appeared at the Festival du Rock, at the Palais des Sports de Paris in Paris, France.
Rydell's success and prospects led his father Adrio, foreman at the Electro-Nite Carbon Company in Philadelphia, to resign in 1961 after 22 years to become his son's road manager.
Rydell released the song "Wildwood Days" in 1963. The song is about the shore town of The Wildwoods in New Jersey. His hometown of Philadelphia, also has a four block radius renamed "Bobby Rydell Boulevard" where the entertainer grew up.
In 1963, he played Hugo Peabody in the movie version of Bye Bye Birdie with Ann-Margret and Dick Van Dyke. The original stage production of Bye Bye Birdie had no real speaking role for the character of Hugo, but the movie script was rewritten specifically to expand the part for Rydell. In 2011, Sony Pictures digitally restored this film. Rydell and Ann-Margret were in attendance at the restoration premiere in Beverly Hills by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
During the 1960s, Rydell had numerous hit records on the Billboard Hot 100 record chart. His recording career earned him 34 Top 40 hits, placing him in the Top 5 artists of his era (Billboard). These included his most popular successes, "Wild One" (his highest scoring single, at number 2), "Volare" (number 4), "Swingin' School" (number 5), "Kissin' Time" (number 11), "Sway" (number 14), "I've Got Bonnie" (number 18) and "The Cha-Cha-Cha" (number 10). His last major chart success was "Forget Him", which reached number 4 on the Hot 100 in January 1964. The song - written by Tony Hatch - was his fifth and final gold disc winner.
During this time, Rydell also performed on many television programs, including the Red Skelton Show where a recurring role was written for him by Red Skelton as Zeke Kadiddlehopper, Clem Kadiddlehopper's younger cousin. He also appeared on the Danny Thomas Show, Jack Benny, Joey Bishop, and George Burns where his love of comedy was able to bloom. Rydell was also a regular on The Milton Berle Show.
On October 6, 1964, he was a guest actor for an episode of the television series, Combat!.
This was Rydell's first dramatic acting role.
In January 1968, it was announced in the UK music magazine, NME, that Rydell had signed a long term recording contract with Reprise Records company.
Rydell continued to perform in nightclubs, supper clubs and Las Vegas venues throughout the 1970s and 1980s, but his career was hampered by Cameo-Parkway catalogue owner ABKCO Records' refusal to reissue Rydell's music, so the entire catalog was unavailable until 2005 (although he re-recorded his old hits in 1995 for K-Tel Records).
Rydell continued to perform as a solo act, and has toured as part of 'The Golden Boys' successful stage production since 1985 (with Frankie Avalon and Fabian). However, Rydell cancelled his 2012 Australia tour because his health had deteriorated significantly, and he was in need of urgent major surgery.
In July 2012, Rydell underwent a double organ transplant to replace his liver and kidneys at Thomas Jefferson University in his hometown of Philadelphia.
In both the Broadway musical drama, Grease and the film, Grease, the high school was named 'Rydell High' after Bobby Rydell.
In 2000 in the book, The Beatles Anthology (pg. 96), Paul McCartney stated: "John (Lennon) and I wrote "She Loves You" together. There was a Bobby Rydell song out at the time and, as often happens, you think of one song when you write another. We’d planned an 'answering song' where a couple of us would sing 'she loves you' and the other ones would answer 'yeah yeah.' We decided that was a crummy idea but at least we then had the idea of a song called "She Loves You." So we sat in the hotel bedroom for a few hours and wrote it— John and I, sitting on twin beds with guitars.”
No Rydell song title is named in The Beatles Anthology pg. 96. But in Bob Spitz's The Beatles: The Biography, the author claims McCartney originally modeled "She Loves You" on an earlier Rydell "answering song" called "Swingin' School," not "Forget Him," as is commonly cited.
Posted by Courtney K at 4:00 PM